After the milk crate challenge got banned on TikTok, you’d think that would be the end of showing dangerous stunts but alas, here we are again with another trending, dangerous DIY on TikTok. It’s called scalp popping and yes, people are trying this at home and running into problems.
We should know by now (and tell our teens even though we’ve already told them a million times) TikTok isn’t the place to go for health advice. It isn’t a masterclass, it’s not where you should put home remedies into the search bar, and for the love of freaking God, don’t try to educate yourself on how to give yourself (or anyone else) a chiropractic adjustment after watching a sixty second video, I don’t care what platform it’s on.
Now, you may think your child is smarter than this, and there’s no way they’d try it but, how many hours are they sitting alone in their room, zoned out on TikTok? Something as satisfying as cracking your back and knuckles can be addictive. So, if they see a video on how to pop your own skull, and hear the purported benefits of it they may think, “What could go wrong?”
A whole hell of a lot, actually.
One of the most watched videos on this dangerous technique is from user @yanasemerly. The comments are flooded with people saying they are going to try it after they watch how it’s done: You take a small section of hair, twist it, then you hear a popping sound.
Honestly, it looks pretty easy and harmless. However, experts have a lot to say about this trend.
Anthony Youn, M.D., a Detroit-based plastic surgeon, explained it can tear the inside of your scalp and cause a lot of bleeding. He urged TikTok users not to do this because of the damage it can cause.
It’s nice to know there are voices of reason behind these crazy trends, but can we take a moment to recognize something? These are two young girls who are not medical experts. Not to mention by the look on their faces, it seems they have never tried it before either. So, while we can hear the popping noise in a short video, we have no idea what happened afterwards.
Why does anyone think this is enough information for them to try it?
As soon as I heard about this I warned my kids that it was going around and they better not try it. They love cracking their knuckles, and turning their back just so in a chair to get that satisfying pop.
This isn’t the same thing though. And while some say it is done in certain South American cultures to ease different ailments, the thing we have to remember is the people administering these scalp popping techniques as part of their heritage are likely more experienced, and were probably taught how to do it correctly.
I am sure that, in no way, it included a damn TikTok video featuring young girls.
Dr. Ross Perry is the managing director of medical and cosmetic skin clinics Cosmedics Skin Clinics who told Newsweek. “This should never be attempted at home or in a salon as there are a number of dangers associated with this. Firstly, you can easily tear the inside of your scalp which can lead to bleeding and possible infections. It can become sore and extremely uncomfortable. It can also cause damage to the hair follicle on a long term basis and could lead to hair loss and let’s not forget damage to the neck and head from force of hair being pulled,” he said.
Okay, that all sounds pretty serious and a lot of these videos showing how to do it aren’t addressing these concerns.
Because it needs to be said: Don’t try to pop your scalp, don’t let someone else experiment with your head, and please warn your kids not to try this.
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